Build the first TMT law firm in the country and beyond

Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra (Gorriceta)

By Adrian Paul B. Conoza, Assistant Special Features Editor

It typically takes decades to build a legacy in the Philippine legal industry – an industry that relies heavily on long-term client relationships, consistent exemplary services rendered, and cutting-edge expertise in the myriad of legal fields. And yet, defying all odds, within seven years of its establishment, Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra (Gorriceta) has already propelled itself among the top full-service law firms in the country, further claiming undisputed leadership in an area hotly contested law. — Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT).

When Gorriceta started in 2015, she had a strong focus on corporate, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, tax, intellectual property and litigation law, including Gorriceta’s managing partner, Atty. Mark S. Gorriceta, noted that these are relatively traditional practice areas for any Manila-based law firm.

“This allowed the firm to build its first group of clients and foster a culture of excellence within its founding team of lawyers,” Mr. Gorriceta said. Business world in an email.

Later, Gorriceta expanded into anti-trust and competition, project development and finance, labor and employment, real estate, infrastructure and special projects, immigration, data privacy and cybersecurity, banking and financial services and, of course, the TMT Act.

Key to its rapid growth is its relentless and driven team of legal professionals who, as Atty. Gorriceta described, “on average, are young, tech-savvy, and nimble in adopting and spearheading legal developments to respond to market innovations,” under the leadership of his nine current partners, three junior partners and seven tips.

Gorriceta’s remarkable growth is easily validated by its numerous recognitions by reputable legal ranking institutions here and abroad.

Its three-year reign (2019, 2020 and 2021) as the top TMT law firm in the Philippines, recognized by Asia Business law review in its annual Philippines Law Firm Awards. Gorriceta has also been recognized for three consecutive years (2019, 2020 and 2021) as TMT Law Firm of the Year by Asian Legal Business, a Thomson Reuters company.

Since 2017, when it won the Rising Law Firm of the Year award, Gorriceta has steadily increased its nominations and wins at the Philippine Law Awards, winning Innovative Law Firm of the Year (2019 and 2021), Construction and Real Estate Law Firm of the Year. (2020), Data Privacy and Protection Law Firm of the Year (2021), Philippine Deal Firm of the Year (2021) and Equity Market Deal Firm of the Year (Midsize) (2021), among others.

Atti. Gorriceta was also recognized as Managing Partner of the Year in 2020 and Dealmaker of the Year in 2021 at the Philippine Law Awards. The Legal 500 also names Gorriceta among its Recommended Filipino Firms in Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, TMT, Intellectual Property, Dispute Resolution, and Labor & Employment.

With TMT as its current legal centerpiece, Atty. Gorriceta’s open secret is “the company’s massive investment and expansion in TMT projects, engaging both stakeholders: from regulators to startups to the general public in the development of TMT as a as an instrument of public good”.

“We have established strong ties with the TMT and FinTech space – whether global or local, private or government – ​​in order to have first-hand knowledge of new technologies that may be introduced or developed in the Philippine market” , explained Mr. Gorriceta. “In turn, [as we open ourselves to] By learning about and/or becoming familiar with these new technologies, we connect regulators and private stakeholders with applicable Philippine laws and regulations that enable the creation of entities or structures capable of deploying these new products and services.

It has been a winning formula, with heavy hitters in the Philippine TMT space gracing its client list, such as: UnionBank, UBX, Coins.PH, GCash, Kumu, Shopee, ShopeePay, Robinsons Group, Filinvest Group, Multisys Technologies , Angkas, and Foodpanda. It also contains a long list of promising startups and organizations that rely on the firm for Philippine legal and regulatory advice in the TMT/fintech space.

As part of its professional responsibility, Atty. Gorriceta continued, the firm also assists government legislators and regulators in developing and updating existing laws and regulations to meet the demand for innovative products and services that are potentially of great interest to the public. – such as the open finance ecosystem, the rise of blockchain-based technologies, and many others, thus acting as a key mediator at the crossroads of innovation and regulation.

“We have helped traditional corporate clients develop a technology and/or fintech arm to bridge their products and services with the growing digital economy. We have also facilitated several license applications with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which have enabled the expansion of much needed financial services in the country, which in turn has propelled more business growth for our customers,” Atty. said Gorriceta.

Beyond its leadership in the TMT space, Gorriceta has also solidified its track record in equity market transactions and completed notable mergers and acquisitions that continue to change the country’s business landscape. Its comprehensive legal services have also been heavily tested during the pandemic, emerging triumphantly as the firm has seen “an exponential increase in legal services rendered”.

Yet with such reach and consistent leadership, Gorriceta remains hungry for new opportunities.

“The firm is now looking to expand into energy law to help the energy industry and the country meet the ever-increasing demands for energy regulation, energy project development renewable and non-renewable, electricity generation and transmission, and various other environmental issues. legal issues”, Atty. said Gorriceta. To achieve this, it has further increased the number of its legal professionals and invested heavily in legal education and development, particularly in this new journey into energy law.

Although Gorriceta acknowledges that his legacy in the Philippine legal industry remains young and suspect to an unfathomable set of future challenges, he remains optimistic that these challenges can be met through a culture of perseverance, a dedication to legal excellence and a penchant for to find and develop the right lawyers who are determined to stand out.